Friday, February 25, 2011


2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

I've been learning, over the past few months, that I absolutely need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone or anything else.  I used to do it backwards.  I would make sure everyone else was happy and then I'd have a breakdown because I was exhausted and never got to do I needed to for myself.  It seemed very selfish to me to consider what I needed before I went out of my way for everyone else.

But now I understand that not taking care of my own needs first is like not giving my car gas and expecting it to take me on a nice long road trip.  It's not selfish to make sure you get enough rest, food and time with God BEFORE you go volunteer at your favorite charity (or hang out with friends or take care of your granny).  Quality is better than quantity in the case of service and doing for others.  In other words, you may not get to do as much for others as you would like because you have to put your God, your self and your family before anyone else.  But when you do get to serve, you will be able to put your heart into it because you are well fueled and not serving because you feel obligated or you feel guilty if you don't.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I am SO thankful for the Body of Christ.  What would we have without each other?  It would be hard to stick close to Christ on our own.  Let's do our part not to be isolated.  I'm half talking to myself - I have a tendency to be a recluse and I'm still really lacking local girlfriends.

I've been mildly obsessed with Joyce Meyer's materials recently.  At the gym the other day, I listened to her podcast, and it got me excited.  I thought I should share!

She was talking about how we wallow around in our struggles like pigs in mud sometimes, but that we don't have to because God and Jesus Christ have given us absolutely everything we need already.  If you read through any of the new testament and reflect on that, you'll see the truth in it.  Once we decide to make Jesus our Lord, we get his spirit and his mind in us.  We get holy spirit, which empowers us.  See Acts chapter 2.  But remember how you can possess something and not use it?  Like that ugly shirt you got from your aunt, or the lotion you haven't opened yet that's just sitting there.  Why would the principles not be the same with holy spirit?  It's like having muscles that we don't work out - our holy spirit can and does atrophy.

We have to activate what we got, people!  And it can be hard work, but it pays off... and it's not THAT hard.

Anyway, she was saying that we have the seed of God planted in us if we are born again.  Seeds don't just spring out of the ground into full grown plants with fruit all over them, though.  And babies (which start with a baby making seed) don't burst out of you the moment after you get pregnant.  You can't even SEE that you're pregnant for a long time, and plants take forever to grow to the point of producing anything, it seems.

 In the same teaching, Joyce suggested not fellowshipping with your sin.  Don't focus on the stuff you do wrong all the time! You are forgiven!  Fellowship with God and get your brain thinking what He wants you thinking!

So let's not be acting like we aren't powerful people who have what it takes to live the way God would have us live.  All we have to do is truly and firmly believe what God says to us and about us.  The fact is, we are more than conquerers.  We are lights in this world.  We are free.  We are loved.  We are beautiful.  We are strong.  We ARE blessed, already.  We CAN take captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ.  We are able to be disciplined (that's one of many I'm working on).  We all have an important ministry and purpose on this earth.  Each one of us are unique and we should be different than everyone else.

Joyce's point was to stop asking God for what you already have and just USE it already!  Just believe it and decide that you are going to live in victory.

How awesome is that?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What is Fruit?

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Matthew 7:15-17

Last night I was talking to my husband about the fruit of the spirit and he said something that I had never realized!

I had always thought "fruit" was something tangible that we as believers produce.  For example, fruit might be starting a ministry, whatever growth takes place for that ministry, or having a kid and training them up in Christ.  Last night my man mentioned the fruit of the spirit....

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Which made me ask "Well, is the 'fruit of the spirit' fruit?" 
And he said something like "You mean is the fruit of the spirit fruit even though it's not an accolade?"
Me: "What's an accolade again?"
Him: "An accomplishment that is considered as a separate entity from the person who accomplished it, like a degree or a trophy."
Me: "Yeah, that's what I mean.  I thought fruit was something we PRODUCE that's pretty easy to see."
Him: "No, the fruit of the spirit is fruit, too."


It makes sense now!  Character is a product, and having all of those things within us is powerful.  I want to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful and self controlled.  I have a long way to go, but I'll get there!  God is the one who does the hard work in stuff like this, really.  All I have to do is keep trying my best and know He is a miracle worker.

Friday, February 4, 2011


At fellowship this week, we talked about the darkness of our culture.  It was enlightening!  Pun intended, because we are to bring to light evil things.  I just wanted to sort through some of my thoughts.

We are so appearance-obsessed in our culture, to the point that it is disturbing.  If you don't look good or act a certain way, then you're not cool.  

And being cool is an idol.  

A literal idol.  

I have to admit that I believe I struggle with this idol, and I never thought so.  But if I don't, then why do I care so much if my hair "looks stupid" or if my pants "don't fit me right."  As if I look like a dirty disheveled caveman whose pants won't stay up!  Some days I think about it more than I think about God, I swear.  Sometimes there is some tiny thing "wrong" with my appearance that causes me to feel ASHAMED of myself all day!!!  I feel judged, not good enough to even go out in public.  How can that be right?  I *know* I'm not the only one who experiences this.  We complain to each other about how we look, don't we?  Like it's nagging at us and we feel the need to make an excuse for ourselves, so that the person we're with knows that we disapprove of the way we look, so they can't think that we are oblivious to the abomination that is our chipped nail polish.

You know why this is such a terrible blot on us?  I already mentioned that it keeps our thoughts off of God, but it does so much more than just that.  It keeps us shallow.  We also become preoccupied with stereotypes about how other people groom themselves, or how they talk, behave, whatever.  If I am hard on myself about something, you have to know that I'm hard on others about it.  Because it becomes this thing about being good enough by my works or by who I have made myself.  Today I was good because I took the time to shower and brush my teeth.  Therefore, I am better than the person who hasn't showered in two days.  But tomorrow when I wake up late and can't shower, I will be a stinky bad person.  

I know I'm simplifying and that that example is random, but I'm trying to make the point that coolness is a judgment we make on ourselves or others.  We decide something about a person in our head before we even speak to them.  We determine worth based on something that has very little to do with character and the state of the heart.

I'm not sure what the remedy for this is yet, because it's not going to go away any time soon, unless we are suddenly in the middle of World War III and all we care about is survival.  It's a matter of changing the way we think and consciously deciding not to base our worth or anyone elses on appearances, accessories or anything aside from what Christ did for them.  He set the worth of every single human sky high, and it is wrong wrong wrong to rob anyone of that, especially ourselves.